So it’s fair to say gardening has become pretty important to me during lockdown. And as garden related minor injuries (fingers cut with secateurs, infected hand from embedded rose thorn etc) seem to be on the increase in my A&E it seems everyone is giving their garden some attention at the moment. With only a basil plant on a windowsill to tend to when I was ill I missed the farm terribly.
Right now everything is taking off for the season with great haste, summer is coming (Kate and I saw TWO swallows today so it’s confirmed) and the polytunnel is lush with broad beans sown before winter and a passionflower that is rampant.
The tomatoes are being potted on as they outgrow their pods, Sungold, Faworyt, and Pomdoro are already on their strings with the strangely coloured varieties Green Zebra, Orange Russian and White Beauty trailing behind currently.
Onions and shallots sown before winter are being ‘religiously watered’ (Sheila’s words) – I think she talks to them. The brassica bed has been planted with kalettes (new this year-a sort of flowering sprout), brussels, red cabbages and a variety of oddly coloured cauliflowers –who knows what they will become!
In previous years this sort of spring update has featured strict crop rotation plans in bright colours, less of that this year. The beds have been merely allocated to legumes, roots or brassicas and as seedlings become ready to plant out they will go where there is space. Rotation only works if you have an even number of beds for each veg group and we have decided to grow more of what we’re good at and what everyone likes to eat – so 4 are dedicated to beans and peas, 1 to roots and 2 to brassicas.
The group has also built new beds along the track behind the plant room to grow potatoes and both baby and large sweet corn; of which there is a forest of seedlings waiting to get planted out.
For the last few years Sheila and I have been trying harder at flowers. With tulips, daffodils and irises planted the first colour comes effortlessly to the fruit bed in front of The Byre. Now there is aquilegia among the blackcurrnats and redcurrants that are already starting to form fruit. The wall alongside the orchard features roses, honeysuckle, a wisteria, Solomon’s seal, lavender, Echinacea and sweet peas when they’re ready to be planted out. My recent attempts at ‘angel’s fishing rod’, ‘eryngiums’ and ‘flying hedgehogs’ (seed bought purely because of the name) have produced nothing – in summary some things are best left to the experts!
We’re currently eating broad beans, asparagus and lettuces and my bet is on the strawberries as the next crop to ripen.